For a culture of radically shared aliveness

Principles and initial appeal of the WorldEthicForum

(1) The world is alive. The world is a highly diverse, profoundly creative process that brings forth and sustains living individuals. All living beings are subjects. They possess an inner experiencing and feeling self, through which they perceive their existence as a personal reality. In this respect, other beings are no different from humans.

(2) All living beings have rights. The effort to restore all other beings to their right as subjects is a continuation and broadening of the effort for equal rights for humans marginalized on the basis of gender identify, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity. Denying other beings their existence as subjects is a form of colonization. Only in a world in which the rights of all living subjects are safeguarded, will human inequalities also be resolved.

(3) An Ideology of death underlies the ecological crisis. The current ecological crisis is due to the fact that our civilization denies non-human sentient beings their subject status. Instead, non-human organisms are regarded as things. We can therefore say that the ecological crisis is caused by an ideology of death. We want to replace this ideology with the idea of reality as all-encompassing aliveness, shared by humans and non-human beings alike.

(4) Humans must support a society of all beings. The experience of being part of a communal, shared process of being alive can change our actions and is needed to revitalise our world. Humans increase their own aliveness when they recognize and advance the subject-nature of other beings. This means granting all living subjects a place in society and expanding it into a “society of all beings.” This demands radical changes in the domains of law, science, business, education, ethics and religion.

These principles require that we radically change the relationship between humans and other living subjects. This requires that

  • we understand production and consumption of food as shared work done by all species to make the biosphere more fertile. This “work for life” increases diversity. It makes landscapes more beautiful and gives pleasure to all.
  • we design economic production as part of the productivity of the biosphere, and no longer direct it against our shared aliveness.
  • we design education to help people deepen their vitality in collaboration with all other beings, and to help them learn how to nourish life-giving relationships.
  • we constrain economic development, abandoning the goal of increasing the gross national product, and directing the economy towards extending the commons of shared life, creativity and knowledge.
  • we create a legal system that treats non-humans as full subjects.
  • we make political decisions routinely in ways that enhance vitality.
  • we encourage cultural imagination and scientific research to search for new ways to create the experience of being fully alive and to develop new domains of culture as the human contribution to the productivity of the cosmos.
  • we nurture spirituality as our innate way to connect with the core of a creative and life-giving world.

If you identify with these or similar principles and wish to contribute to the enlivening transformation of our world, you are warmly invited to be part of the WorldEthicForum.

This proposition was developed during the first strategic weekend of the WorldEthicForum based on a draft by Andreas Weber with the collaboration of Martin Ott.